Advanced Reporting Syllabus

Instructor Jeanette Abrahamsen
Jabraha3@usf.edu
@JnetAbrahamsen
813-838-7333

Course Description

This course will prepare students for a career in a quickly changing media landscape. This course will teach students how to create a multimedia website with engaging video, social media and AP style stories. Students will conduct interviews, enhance stories with multimedia and use search engine optimization to promote digital content. We will delve deeper into complex reporting techniques like investigations and analysis. Students will use context to craft stories with greater meaning and impact. Students will also use innovative technology to create augmented reality presentations.

Objectives

  • Students will develop new multimedia skills, create multimedia content to showcase those skills to prospective employers, collaborate with media organizations to add accomplishments to their resume, and network with media professionals.
  • Students will use good news judgment to report on multimedia stories that people actually want to watch, read and listen to.
  • Students will use a variety of mediums to craft and promote engaging and compelling content on digital platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
  • Students will shoot beautifully composed and well-lit videos with clean audio.
  • Students will edit videos using Adobe Premiere Pro and efficient mobile video editing apps like Videolicious.
  • Students will produce content that complies with journalistic principles of ethics, fairness, accuracy, attribution and balance.
  • Students will think critically to accurately apply basic numerical, statistical and visual concepts, including how to obtain, analyze and visualize data for storytelling.
  • Students will conduct research and evaluate information by methods appropriate to communications professionals.
  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of diversity.
  • Students will learn about media conglomerates and understand what that means for the future of print and digital publications.

Required Technology
Students will be required to shoot HD videos and photographs on smartphones. Students will check out tripods and lav microphones from the CIS video lab to refine their video and audio production. Students can also check out additional equipment from USF library’s digital media commons (http://www.lib.usf.edu/dmc/). Students will have access to the Adobe Creative Suite on classroom and library computers. USF students also get free access to Adobe products on their personal laptops while they’re enrolled.

Required Text
You are required to have an Associated Press Stylebook. I suggest using the online version because it’s easier to search. I recommend also subscribing to the Associated Press StyleGuard to help you correct AP errors. https://store.apstylebook.com/ap-styleguard.html

There is no required textbook for this course. Instead, you will be required to listen to podcasts, watch videos and read news articles. Most of this content is posted on jeanetteabrahamsen.com. I also encourage you to read the Tampa Bay Times and the New York Times.

I expect you to read my Twitter posts. I share relevant news, tools and tips about journalism and digital media @JNetAbrahamsen. You are not required to read every article in full, but I will expect you to at least read every tweet. 

Multimedia Projects – 50%
Students will complete five multimedia projects. All projects are broken down into three steps so I can help you improve along the way. You must show me your work prior to submitting the first step of each project so I can suggest improvements.

Students will write five AP style stories. For each story, students will shoot and edit a 1:30 video that helps tell their stories. Students will also submit a professionally framed and lit image used for WordPress featured images and thumbnails on YouTube videos. Students will embed social media posts. Students will also create animations, graphics and infographics.

Covering sporting events is off limits. USF Athletics already does this, so your stories would be redundant. You are encouraged to intern with USF Athletics if you’re interested in creating multimedia sports content.

Anyone featured in your stories must sign a video/photo release form. You will submit a digital copy on Canvas. Originals must be handed to your professor. Submissions without video/photo release forms will receive a zero.

You will also be required to promote your stories and videos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You will be graded on your SEO, headline writing, hashtags and tagging. Your posts will also be evaluated on how compelling the media is. Does your post make people want to click?

Your project grades are broken up as follows:

Multimedia Projects step 1 = 100 points each

  • Video MP4: 16:9 video as an mp4 file. 1:30 minimum.
  • Video thumbnail: JPG of your best and most relevant screen grab from your video or 16:9 graphic.
  • AP copy: AP style YouTube video description with SEO video title in a Word doc. 500-word minimum.
  • Video release form.

Multimedia Projects step 2 = 100 points each

Multimedia Projects step 3 = 50 points each

  • One WordPress URL that contains:
    • embedded tweet
    • embedded Facebook post
    • embedded Instagram post

YouTube Views – 10%

You will be graded on how many views your videos generate on the Zimmerman School Digital Network YouTube channel. I am an admin on this YouTube channel so I can read your video analytics. This means the views have to be organic and unique. Views on your personal accounts will not be counted.

Participation – 20%

In addition to writing, video and social media assignments, you will be required to pitch story ideas and participate in discussions. You will watch your classmates’ videos, give constructive criticism and praise. This should inspire you to try new tools and techniques. You should also learn from one another’s mistakes.

You are expected to participate with your classmates on Twitter and Facebook. You will be added to the Twitter list USF Digital Network and the Facebook page USF Digital Network. Here, you can post your work and encourage classmates to view, like and share your videos. This is where you earn digital karma. If you share your classmate’s videos, they’re more likely to share yours. The more views you get on your videos, the better your grade will be. This is not a competition. You are a team, so help one another out. Don’t forget to use the URL from the Z School YouTube channel so your video views count towards your final grade.

You will participate in campus-wide collaborations on media projects. We will visit the WUSF radio station, the USF Innovative Education department and the Hillsborough County communications department. You will create augmented reality presentations for Innovative Education and help create a virtual tour. You will also work with the Hillsborough County communications department to create compelling multimedia content.

Florida Focus – 10%

You have an incredible opportunity to add this to your resume: I aired my work in the 11th largest television market in America. This sentence alone can land you a job in media. Do not underestimate the impact this will have on your future.

You will be required to shoot, write and edit a Florida Focus VO at least three times throughout the semester. In addition, if you are interested, Professor Cathy Gugerty is willing to assign you a newsroom or production job like graphic designer, scriptwriter, teleprompter operator or camera operator.

Florida Focus class is Monday-Thursday 2-5 p.m. The news brief airs on WEDU, one of the largest PBS affiliates in the country. The briefs will also be posted online.

In addition to participating in the production of the news brief, you will be required to embed each brief on your final portfolio website to showcase your skills to prospective employers. You will explain your role in each brief and add this to your resume and cover letter.

Cathy Gugerty will also give you the opportunity to submit a TV news reporter package for consideration to air on a Friday episode of Florida Focus. The video package must be 1:20 with an anchor intro and tag that adds up to 20 seconds for a total of 1:40.

On Canvas, submit a tweet, Instagram or Facebook post with an image, video, or live stream and an SEO headline describing the role you played in the brief that day. Tag Florida Focus, Zimmerman School of Advertising and Mass Communications, and me. Even if your video doesn’t make the final version of the brief, you should still post about the brief or your experience.

This is due by 11:59 p.m. the day the brief airs. Important reminder: since you all have your own due dates, these will not show up as due date reminders in Canvas. You will submit by clicking on the “Assignments” tab in Canvas.

Quizzes – 5%

Students will complete quizzes to improve AP style and to stay on top of current events. AP style quizzes will require an updated AP Stylebook (subscribe to a digital version on the website, don’t buy a book because books get old fast).

Final Portfolio Website – 5%

Your final portfolio website should include:

  • At least five AP style web stories with multimedia.
  • About me section with a professional and error-free explanation of who you are and why someone should hire you (similar to a generic cover letter).
  • A professional photo of you.
  • Contact info:
    • Your email address
    • Phone number
    • Twitter handle
    • LinkedIn URL
    • Instagram and Facebook are also encouraged but not required
  • You’re encouraged to add a resume but you’re not required to.
  • I also encourage you to embed a Twitter widget on your site and showcase any other social media platforms. An about me video is also a great idea.

Grading

Multimedia Projects 50%
YouTube views 10%
Florida Focus 10%
Participation 20%
Final Portfolio Website 5%
Quizzes 5%

A       93-100
A-      90-92
B+     87-89
B       83-86
B-      80-82
C+     77-79
C       70-76
D+     67-69
D       63-66
D-      60-63
F       59 or less

Sale Of Notes / Recording of Class Lectures

Lectures given in this class are the property of Jeanette Abrahamsen. Notes or media may not be sold. Lectures may not be recorded without permission.

USF Policies

FERPA Form
Students must sign a FERPA Release Form to allow USF to post and share student-created content on digital platforms like the USF Digital Network, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Academic Integrity of Students

Academic integrity is the foundation of the University of South Florida System’s commitment to the academic honesty and personal integrity of its university community. Academic integrity is grounded in certain fundamental values, which include honesty, respect, and fairness. Broadly defined, academic honesty is the completion of all academic endeavors and claims of scholarly knowledge as representative of one’s own efforts. The final decision on an academic integrity violation and related academic sanction at any USF System institution shall affect and be applied to the academic status of the student throughout the USF System, unless otherwise determined by the independently accredited institution.

Disruption to Academic Process

Disruptive students in the academic setting hinder the educational process. Disruption of the academic process is defined as the act, words, or general conduct of a student in a classroom or other academic environment which in the reasonable estimation of the instructor: (a) directs attention away from the academic matters at hand, such as noisy distractions, persistent, disrespectful or abusive interruption of lecture, exam, academic discussion, or general University operations, or (b) presents a danger to the health, safety, or well-being of self or other persons.

Student Academic Grievance Procedures

The purpose of these procedures is to provide all undergraduate and graduate students taking courses within the University of South Florida System an opportunity for objective review of facts and events pertinent to the cause of the academic grievance. An “academic grievance” is a claim that a specific academic decision or action that affects that student’s academic record or status has violated published policies and procedures, or has been applied to the grievant in a manner different from that used for other students.

Disability Access

Students with disabilities are responsible for registering with Students with Disabilities Services (SDS) to receive academic accommodations. SDS encourages students to notify instructors of accommodation needs at least 5 business days prior to needing the accommodation. A letter from SDS must accompany this request. http://www.usf.edu/student-affairs/student-disabilities-services/

Sexual Misconduct/Sexual Harassment Reporting

USF is committed to providing an environment free from sex discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence (USF System Policy 0-004). The USF Center for Victim Advocacy and Violence Prevention is a confidential resource where you can talk about incidents of sexual harassment and gender-based crimes including sexual assault, stalking, and domestic/relationship violence. This confidential resource can help you without having to report your situation to either the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities (OSSR) or the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equal Opportunity (DIEO), unless you request that they make a report. Please be aware that in compliance with Title IX and under the USF System Policy, educators must report incidents of sexual harassment and gender-based crimes including sexual assault, stalking, and domestic/relationship violence. If you disclose any of these situations in class, in papers, or to me personally, I am required to report it to OSSR or DIEO for investigation. Contact the USF Center for Victim Advocacy and Violence Prevention: (813) 974-5757. http://www.usf.edu/diversity/title-ix/reporting.aspx

University Emergency Policy
In the event of an emergency, it may be necessary for USF to suspend normal operations. During this time, USF may opt to continue delivery of instruction through methods that include but are not limited to: Canvas, Elluminate, Skype, and email messaging and/or an alternate schedule. It’s the responsibility of the student to monitor Blackboard site for each class for course specific communication, and the main USF, College, and department websites, emails, and MoBull messages for important general information.

Religious Observances

All students have a right to expect that the University will reasonably accommodate their religious observances, practices and beliefs. If you observe religious holidays, you should plan your allowed absences to include those dates.

The Writing Studio

The Writing Studio is a free resource for USF undergraduate and graduate students. At the Writing Studio, a trained writing consultant will work individually with you, at any point in the writing process from brainstorming to editing. Appointments are recommended, but not required. For more information or to make an appointment, visit http://www.lib.usf.edu/writing/ stop by LIB 2nd Floor, or call 813-974-8293.

 

The instructor reserves the right to make any syllabus changes throughout the semester.

 

Class Schedule (subject to change)

January 9
First day of class syllabus review
Bookmark these sites:

 

January 11

BEFORE CLASS
Submit media diet and story idea discussion post on Canvas

Read:

IN CLASS
Bring your smartphone to class. Get tripods and lav microphones for your cell phones. Shoot your About Me video.

 

January 16

BEFORE CLASS

IN CLASS

  • Bring headphones. Bring your work examples, photos and videos to edit your About Me video. Edit your About Me video in class, on your laptop, class computer, smartphone or tablet. Post your edited video to Canvas discussion. You will be graded on your lighting, audio, editing and framing.
  • If you’re new to Adobe Premiere Pro I will walk through editing in class. Sorry, no iMovie allowed in my class.
  • If you would like additional Adobe training, you can visit the USF library’s digital media commons and check out their tutorials. I also encourage you to get certified in free Adobe badge workshops.
  • If you are an expert at Adobe Premiere Pro you should learn a new digital video-editing app like Videolicious, Biteable, Adobe Spark, Animoto, or find your own new app.
  • At any point in this course, you are encouraged to share links to digital media tools/software/apps in our Canvas discussion, “Share digital media tools here.”

 

January 18
BEFORE CLASS
Read:

Listen:

IN CLASS

Present your “9 Things My Classmates Should Learn About Me” videos. Explain what software/apps you used to create the video, graphics, etc.

January 23

BEFORE CLASS

Read:

IN CLASS

January 25

BEFORE CLASS

Read:

IN CLASS

Ask questions about reading to make sure you’re ready to shoot your first multimedia project. Pitch your story idea. Why does your target demo want to watch this video? What’s the lead? What video will you shoot? Who have you already spoken to? Who will you interview? What software/equipment will you use to shoot and edit your story? Has anyone else made a similar video? How will yours be better/different?

 

January 30

BEFORE CLASS

Shoot your video for your first multimedia project.

Read:

IN CLASS

  • We will go over the workflow for posting your stories and media to your own WordPress website and the Digital Bullpen. If you don’t have a Digital Bullpen account you will create a username and password before leaving class.
  • Show me your video for your first multimedia project. Start writing your script and editing your video.

 

February 1

BEFORE CLASS

IN CLASS

Watch project 1 videos (early submissions). Work on first multimedia project.

 

February 6

BEFORE CLASS

Submit Project 1 Step 1: MP4, AP copy, SEO headline, Thumbnail on Canvas

IN CLASS

FIELD TRIP: MEET AT THE HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY OFFICE OF COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR. 601 E. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, FL 33602

 

February 8

BEFORE CLASS

Read: https://jeanetteabrahamsen.com/2017/07/11/multimedia-storytelling/

IN CLASS

Watch your videos for Project 1 Step 1. You will take notes on my feedback so you can improve or re-shoot parts of your video, headline and thumbnail.

 

February 13

BEFORE CLASS

Before class read: https://jeanetteabrahamsen.com/2016/01/10/social-media/

IN CLASS

  • Show me your revisions from Project 1 Step 1
  • Work on Project 1 Step 2: Digital Bullpen and WordPress URL
  • Work on Project 1 Step 3: Social Media Posts

 

February 15

BEFORE CLASS

  • Submit Project 1 Step 2: Digital Bullpen and WordPress URL
  • Submit Project 1 Step 3: Social Media Posts

IN CLASS

Guest speaker Christine Brown, Director of Digital Learning at USF’s Innovative Education. She manages the group who created this augmented reality video
http://www.usf.edu/innovative-education/about/news/new-innovation-hub.aspx 

February 18: Multimedia project pitch #2 due Sunday 11:59 p.m.

 

February 20

BEFORE CLASS

IN CLASS

Work on multimedia project #2. Make sure you show me what you’re working on to get feedback before you submit.

 

February 22

BEFORE CLASS

Play the “Decisions on Deadline” game to test your ethical instincts. Can you publish your story on time and get all the facts right? http://game.decisionsondeadline.com/

IN CLASS

Work on multimedia project #2. Make sure you show me what you’re working on to get feedback before you submit.

 

February 27

BEFORE CLASS

Submit Project 2 Step 1: MP4, AP copy, SEO headline, Thumbnail on Canvas

IN CLASS

Watch videos, take notes on my feedback so you can improve or re-shoot parts of your video, headline and thumbnail.

 

March 1

BEFORE CLASS

IN CLASS

Watch videos, take notes on my feedback so you can improve or re-shoot parts of your video, headline and thumbnail.

 

March 4: Multimedia project pitch #3 due Sunday 11:59 p.m.

 

March 6

IN CLASS

Field trip or guest speaker

 

March 8

BEFORE CLASS

  • Submit Project 2 Step 2: Digital Bullpen and WordPress URL
  • Submit Project 2 Step 3: Social Media Posts

IN CLASS

Work on multimedia project #3. Make sure you show me what you’re working on to get feedback before you submit.

 

March 12-18 SPRING BREAK

 

March 20

BEFORE CLASS

Submit Project 3 Step 1: MP4, AP copy, SEO headline, Thumbnail on Canvas

IN CLASS

Watch videos, take notes on my feedback so you can improve or re-shoot parts of your video, headline and thumbnail.

 

March 22

BEFORE CLASS

Read: https://jeanetteabrahamsen.com/2016/01/10/make-information-look-good/

IN CLASS

Watch videos, take notes on my feedback so you can improve or re-shoot parts of your video, headline and thumbnail.

 

March 25: Multimedia project pitch #4 due Sunday 11:59 p.m.

 

March 27

BEFORE CLASS

Read: https://jeanetteabrahamsen.com/2017/06/19/data-journalism/

IN CLASS

Field trip or guest speaker

 

March 29

BEFORE CLASS

  • Submit Project 3 Step 2: Digital Bullpen and WordPress URL
  • Submit Project 3 Step 3: Social Media Posts

IN CLASS

Work on multimedia project #4. Make sure you show me what you’re working on to get feedback before you submit.

April 3

BEFORE CLASS

Submit Project 4 Step 1: MP4, AP copy, SEO headline, Thumbnail on Canvas

IN CLASS

Watch videos, take notes on my feedback so you can improve or re-shoot parts of your video, headline and thumbnail.

 

April 5

BEFORE CLASS

Read: https://jeanetteabrahamsen.com/2017/05/30/shining-a-spotlight-on-the-power-of-journalism/

Watch: “Spotlight” about The Boston Globe’s investigative team that published about 600 stories on the sex abuse scandal surrounding the Catholic Church. The reporters accused nearly 250 priests and brothers of molesting children in the Boston Archdiocese.

IN CLASS

Watch videos, take notes on my feedback so you can improve or re-shoot parts of your video, headline and thumbnail.

 

April 8: Multimedia project pitch #5 due Sunday 11:59 p.m.

 

April 10

BEFORE CLASS

Read: https://jeanetteabrahamsen.com/2017/01/04/the-business-of-journalism-and-why-you-need-to-care/

Watch: “Page One: Inside The New York Times”

IN CLASS

Field trip or guest speaker

 

April 12

BEFORE CLASS

  • Submit Project 4 Step 2: Digital Bullpen and WordPress URL
  • Submit Project 4 Step 3: Social Media Posts

IN CLASS

Work on multimedia project #5. Make sure you show me what you’re working on to get feedback before you submit.

 

April 17

BEFORE CLASS

Read: https://jeanetteabrahamsen.com/2016/12/29/fake-news/

Play Factitious: To Test Your Fake News Judgment, Play This Game

IN CLASS

Work on multimedia project #5. Make sure you show me what you’re working on to get feedback before you submit.

 

April 19

BEFORE CLASS

Submit Project 5 Step 1: MP4, AP copy, SEO headline, Thumbnail on Canvas

IN CLASS

Watch videos, take notes on my feedback so you can improve or re-shoot parts of your video, headline and thumbnail.

 

April 24

BEFORE CLASS

Read and watch: https://jeanetteabrahamsen.com/2017/06/05/all-governments-lie/

IN CLASS

Watch videos, take notes on my feedback so you can improve or re-shoot parts of your video, headline and thumbnail.

 

April 26 & 27 READING DAYS

May 1

Submit Project 5 Step 2: Digital Bullpen and WordPress URL

Submit Project 5 Step 3: Social Media Posts

 

FINAL Thursday, May 3, 7:30– 9:30 a.m.

FINAL PORTFOLIO DUE

I will add up your video views on May 7 at 9 a.m.

 

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